Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Happy Holidays to You and Your Family

Dear All,

This is to inform you that our offices will be closed for the year 2011 on 20th December 2011 and to resume on 9th January 2012.

With your support and collaboration, the year has been rewarding and fruitful and we thank God who has sustained us and see us through.

However, you may contact our staff on important issues that may arise for necessary actions. We hope the New Year will bring good luck, peace and progress to our nation. 

We wish you a merry Xmas and a prosperous new year in advance.

We appreciate you all.

CLEEN FOUNDATION

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Preliminary Statement Issued by the CLEEN Foundation on the Conduct of Security Officials during the Kogi State Gubernatorial Election held on Saturday, 3 December, 2011



Introduction
In line with its commitment to promote accountability for the conduct of security and law enforcement personnel in the discharge of their electoral functions, the CLEEN Foundation observed the conduct of security officials during the Kogi state gubernatorial election held on Saturday 3 December 2011. For this purpose, it recruited, trained, mobilized and deployed roving observers in all the 21 local government areas in the state. To also promote public awareness on what is required of security officials deployed to secure the election, CLEEN Foundation published abridged versions of the Police Service Commission’s Guidelines for the Conduct of Police Officers on Electoral Duty in national dailies before the elections. The publication also had contact numbers for the call centre it had set up to collate reports from the public on emerging incidents from the election.  This statement presents the preliminary findings of CLEEN Foundation observers on the conduct of security officials during the Kogi State gubernatorial election.
 
Background
Kogi state is one of the five states where elections did not hold in April following a court judgment that elongated the tenure of the governors. However, INEC’s electoral timetable indicates that the tenure of the current governor, Ibrahim Idris expired on 3 December 2011, hence the election. As Kogi State prepared for the gubernatorial election, the political climate was, expectedly, heated up and a number of security concerns were expressed by various stakeholders, particularly given the history of political and electoral violence in the state and the prevailing political dynamics playing out in the state. Some of the security concerns arose from existing tensions and internal divisions within the ruling party and the volatile nature of certain parts of the state notorious for violence. The fact that the three major contenders to occupy Lugard house are from the Igala ethnic group might also heighten friction, competition and the likelihood of violence in the eastern part of Kogi, homeland of the Igalas.    

In a bid to address the security challenges anticipated during the elections, a number of steps were taken. The state government had on 29th November 2011, donated 53 Toyota Hilux vehicles to the Kogi State command of the Nigeria Police Force, which would boost the visibility and patrol capacity of the police in the identified violence hotspots and other parts of the state. More so, about 15,000 police officers were deployed to maintain peace and order in the state during the elections. Other security agencies such as Civil Defense, the Customs, Immigration and the NDLEA also deployed its personnel to help in ensuring electoral security. There was a heavy presence of the Nigerian Army. The heavy deployment of fierce looking military and mobile police officers, their several patrol vans and the numerous road blocks they mounted gave the initial impression that the state was under siege. This was the security situation under which the elections were conducted and that our observers went out to work.

Observations
1.       There was an overwhelming presence of security officials within the State capital Lokoja, with several check points erected along major roads. This created the impression of a possible militarization of the electoral process but eventually did not deter voters or hinder the election process.
2.       The rigorous scrutiny of vehicles and passengers at the various check points and road blocks served a useful purpose and resulted in the arrest of 2 men (one dressed as a youth corp member) at Federal Medical Centre Junction, Lokoja in a blue Peugeot 504 with a booth load of firearms and ammunition.
3.       As observed during the general elections, the deployment of security officers across the state was arbitrary. Thus while there was a concentration of security officials in Lokoja and other urban areas, with some polling stations having as much as 12 officials, security presence thinned out as one visited remote and sub urban areas.
4.      Across the state, most security personnel arrived the polling centres by 8am, in some cases long before INEC staff and the election materials. However, at Ega ward 03 in Idah LGA, security officials arrived after the INEC staff and ballot materials.
5.      There were evidently serious delays by INEC in getting materials and its ad hoc staff to some polling stations across the state. This created some security challenges as voters who had come out early became agitated and started suspecting foul play. And though this did not spill over into outright conflict, it however placed serious demands on security officials already at the polling stations to manage the crowds.
6.      In some polling units such as Obaiba ward 1, in Okehi LGA, and Ugwolawo ward I, in Ofu LGA, the accreditation process was very slow and were occasionally disrupted as voters complained about the competence of the INEC officials. Security agents at these units had to manage the situation carefully.
7.      Poor management of logistics by INEC created major security threats. There were no elections at Ansarudeen primary school, Ward A, Lokoja LGA, because the names of prospective voters were not in the voters register presented to them. Amidst mild protests, the explanations proffered for this situation were unclear and a lot of voters left angrily. But there was relative calm as the police and other security officials took charge of the situation.
8.      In some polling units, the presence of security officials did not guarantee adequate security as they were unable to manage the crowds effectively. For instance, Bagaji ward, Agojeju open place in Omala LGA, L.G.E.A. Agodo, Akubu II in Bassa LGA, Ibeke II polling station, Kuroko ward 1 in Adavi LGA, Ugwolawo Ward II in Ofu LGA and Barracks 2 polling station, Ankpa township ward, Ankpa LGA each had two police officials but they were overwhelmed by the huge voter turnout in those areas.
9.      In some other places, the security deployment was just inadequate. At the polling station located in Avede Amuro ward 10, Polling unit 3, in Mopa Amuro LGA there was only one female security official and she clearly could not handle the challenges there. There was general disorder and the secrecy of the ballots was compromised.
10.   In some other cases, there was no security presence and armed patrol officers had to step in to maintain order and secure the polling units. Examples of this occurred at Dispensary Unit 6, in Mopa Amuro LGA and at the Aliyu Nyamida’s compound, Kuroko ward II, in Adavi LGA.
11.    Security officials were generally alert, cordial and responded effectively to incidents that threatened peace at the various polling units. For example, at Irenolu Polling station in Kogi LGA, there were small protests by the voters after counting was concluded because the parties refused to show the people the remaining ballot papers. Security officials had to intervene to rescue the INEC staff. At Ward 2 of Ijalu 05 polling station, Yagba West LGA, there were two security officials and some arguments ensued after accreditation because some people were trying to monitor who people were voting for. The thumb printing box was almost carried away but the patrol team came in and helped restore calm and order to the station. Also, at Aiyewa ward 5, Aiyewa polling station, Kabba Bunnu LGA, there was a little disruption between PDP and ACN members because each wanted the other to vote for their candidate. There was only one police officer posted there and he was unable to handle the situation. The INEC official thereafter requested that soldiers should be posted to the station and they helped restore calm to the polling station.
12.    Security officials were also adjudged to have played impartial roles and used minimal force in dealing with conflict situations. For instance, arguments also arose between party agents during counting of votes but were contained by security officials in such places like L.G.E.A primary school, ward A, Lokoja LGA and Obaiba ward 1, in Okehi LGA. Also at Ganaja Township ward 014 in Ajaokuta LGA, protests broke out about unused ballot papers after counting. The voters insisted that they should be destroyed before the result was taken to the collation centre to avoid them being used or manipulated. Security agencies intervened to calm the situation.

Recommendations
1.       INEC should ensure that it provides adequate training for its staff deployed on elections duty. Public perception of incompetence of INEC staff undermines confidence in the institution, the credibility of the electoral process, increases security risks and makes the units where they are posted vulnerable to manipulation.
2.       INEC should review its logistics arrangement and should be able to understand the terrain of the state within which it would be operating and how best it can deliver its personnel and materials to where they are needed without delays.
3.      Security agencies should commend its staff for good conduct and should also investigate complaints of impropriety where they arise so as to strengthen their operations and public confidence in the integrity of their institutions.
4.      There is urgent need to review the strategies employed for deploying security officers in the various states where elections are conducted. Security in the remote areas could be improved by reducing the heavy concentration of security presence in state capitals.
5.      Security operatives should be given more training in crowd control and should be better equipped to manage conflict situations without brutal force.

We congratulate INEC, security agencies, observer groups, the media and the people of Kogi State for the peaceful conduct of the elections. We also thank the Justice for All (J4A) programme of the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DfID) for its generous support towards the observation of this election.

The CLEEN Foundation is a non-governmental organization established in 1998 and registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), to promote public safety security and accessible justice in Nigeria through empirical research, legislative advocacy, demonstration programmes and publications in partnership with government and civil society.  CLEEN Foundation is a member of several networks across the world and also has observer status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Signed
Innocent Chukwuma
Executive Director

Friday, 2 December 2011

GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS IN KOGI STATE

Observe the conduct of police officers and other security personnel during the Kogi State Gubernatorial elections. Download a copy of the guidelines, checklist and other relevant information from the CLEEN Foundation website – www.cleen.org.


FOR COMPLAINTS AND ENQUIRIES

CLEEN Foundation Call Centers: 08064148396, 08075486598 and 07082269051

Police Service Commission: State Coordinator: 08166857590, Kogi Central: 08166857653, Kogi East: 08166857698 and Kogi West: 08166857501

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Communiqué issued at the End of the Two Day Summit on Youth Restiveness, Violence, Peace and Development in Northern Nigeria Organised by the CLEEN Foundation at Development Exchange Centre, Bauchi State, on 22-23 November 2011.

COMMUNIQUE


A two day Summit on Youth Restiveness, Violence, Peace & Development in Northern Nigeria held on Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd November 2011 at Development Exchange Centre, Bauchi State. The Summit was organized to empower and mentor young people to become change agents and instruments of peace in their communities by initiating discussions aimed to directing them away from behaviour that engenders conflict by changing their perception of issues that could breed resentment and conflict, with a long term effect of creating an enabling environment for development in Nigeria. It also sought to identify possible solutions on the way forward in addressing the issues to prevent the reoccurrence of violence.

Participants were drawn from tertiary institutions, youth leaders, academicians, media, policy makers, politicians, ministries, the police state and zonal commands, civil society organisations, women leaders and civil society organizations, government agencies, religious leaders Bauchi State House of Assembly and youth groups. It was organised by the CLEEN Foundation with support from the Canada Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI) managed by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

A total of six (6) papers were presented at the Summit around which further discussions were built. The papers presented included:
1.       Presentation on the findings of CLEEN Foundation 2011 Crime Victimization Survey on Youth and Violence in Nigeria 
2.       Youth Restiveness and Violence in Northern Nigeria: A Critical Analysis
3.      The Causes of Youth Restiveness & Violence in Northern Nigeria
4.      State Response to Youth Restiveness in Nigeria
5.      Faith Based Organizations Response to Addressing Youth Restiveness in Nigeria (From Christian and Muslim perspective)
6.      Role of Youths in Restoring & Building Peace in Nigeria

There was also a breakout session as participants were divided into groups to discuss “Building Bridges between Northern Youths & the Nigerian State” with each group looking at the Political, Economic, Social, Cultural and Religious approaches respectively.
           


At the end of the Summit, the participants noted that:
1.       There is a major disconnection between the government at the various levels and young people in Nigeria.
2.       There is need to create a platform for regular interaction between the youth and the government.
3.      The prevailing socio-economic realities in the country do not support the realization of the common aspirations and yearnings of young Nigerian citizens for quality education, gainful employment, healthcare and decent standards of living;
4.      The rising levels of corruption further deepen the socio-economic inequalities in Nigeria and deny young people the benefit of enjoying the proceeds of the vast resources in the country;
5.      In the absence of a systematic and constructive engagement of young people by the Nigeria State, they resort to self-help and criminal activities for survival and are vulnerable to political manipulation and recruitment by extremist groups;
6.      Security and welfare of the people remains the primary responsibility of the state, which has so far failed in guaranteeing and providing both particularly for young people in Northern Nigeria;
7.      Security and Policing is not solely the responsibility of the police but of everyone and this can be strengthened by mainstreaming police community partnership at the grassroots;
8.      The causes of youth restiveness is traceable to government failure in their primary responsibilities, social decay, improper up-bringing of children, corruption, social and moral decadence, lost of societal values, ethnic and religious intolerance, norms and standards;
9.      Security is not about force and use of military might but also a product of guaranteeing human security;
10.    There is need to encourage, moderate and facilitate inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue amongst various communities in Northern Nigeria.

Following these observations, the participants resolved and recommended as follows:
1.       That a forum should be opened in and outside schools that would facilitate interaction amongst students and with government officials;
2.       That state governments should acknowledge the energetic and enterprising drive of youths and create enabling environment for starting and growing businesses within the states;
3.      That State governments should recognize the cultural diversities of people within the region and encourage integration through annual cultural festivals;
4.      That the educational systems, both conventional and vocational, should be reformed and strengthened to properly engage young people and help them build capacities that would facilitate their gainful participation in economic activities.
5.      That the government should diversify economic activities to create more employment opportunities for young people within the region;
6.      That the youths should be encouraged to participate more in the political process and encouraged to support political aspirants with credibility, competence and clear agenda that speaks to the needs of the people;
7.      That the youths should be encouraged to follow the legislative processes in their respective states and hold regular advocacy visits to policy makers;
8.      That government should accommodate peaceful protest and respond swiftly to non-violent demonstration of young people rather than wait until lives and properties have been annihilated. That the state should hold regular inter-faith, inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogues and  steps should be taken to mitigate inciting comments of religious leaders and punish those found wanting;
9.      That more aggressive awareness campaigns be initiated and carried out on the role of youth in peace, development and national building, prioritizing the uneducated and youths in the rural communities;

Signed:
                               

CLEEN Foundation




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